Rear View review at the Great Hospital, Norwich – ‘profound and perception-altering’
IOU’s Rear View takes you places. Literally. After a brief prologue in an impromptu life drawing class – relax, you don’t actually put pencil to paper – the audience are bundled onto the back of a custom-made, open-top bus and ferried around central Norwich for an hour.
The city becomes the stage. Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot (who alternate performances) wander around the streets, obliquely evoking the life of a woman – Charlotte – that lived there with lucid, languorous poetry, transmitted to the audience’s ears via noise-cancelling headphones.
The audience is welcomed into the places of her life. It’s an extraordinary, almost magical experience, once the initial unease and embarrassment over doing something a bit radical in full public view subsides. Passers-by become characters, their looks of surprise, amusement, confusion and annoyance gradually grow infinitely fascinating as Knapp/Foxtrot – clad in a wispy, white gown – meditates among them.
A old bloke with a shopping bag gives a thumbs up. A group of lads jeer. A wedding party outside a pub waves enthusiastically. And Norwich, lit by dappled, early-evening sunshine, looks transcendentally beautiful, particularly when gently romanticised by Monty Adkins and Susie Green’s contemplative, Brian Eno-ish score, also piped in through headphones.
Considering the logistics involved, the whole thing comes off with impressive precision making for a profound, perception-altering experience.